Okay you guys, time for you to do your homework. Dun, dun, daaa. Now I'm gonna give this all to you. So you need to go home, do some journaling. Go to a coffee shop. Sit, work this stuff out. What do you do? What do you do? Okay. Who are your people? Figure it out. Are you communicating what you do to your people? That's really all it is. That's all it is. And listen, I wanna tell you, you owe it to yourself and you owe it to the world to do this, to build a strong brand. But I am gonna tell you this story about why I feel so passionate about this. I really do. When I tell photographers, like you owe it to your community to do this, I mean it. So a few years ago, I might cry. Just so you know. A few years ago, I had a woman come in for a newborn session, and we were doing her newborn session. And I always do this pose with the moms where I have the baby up on the shoulder, and mom's kinda looking at the baby like this, and I just get the tops of their eyelashes. It's super pretty. And ...
I was taking that picture, and I noticed that she was crying. And so, you know, I put down my camera, and I was like, "Hey listen, are you okay?" And she looked up at me and she said, "Listen, I have been trying for years to get pregnant, "and I've had miscarriage, after miscarriage, "after miscarriage. "We've had failed fertilization, "like in vitro fertilization attempts. "We've had failed adoptions, "and through all that time, all those years, "I watched friend, after friend, after friend get pregnant, "and send birth announcements, "and post pictures on Facebook, and it's so painful." And she's like, "You were taking my picture, "and I realized that this is my picture. "Like now this is my turn, "and I get to be that mom that posts this photo and sends it out." And she looked up, and she's like crying. At that point I'm crying, and the dad's crying. And she's like, "You just have no idea "what this means to me." And that was that moment that really changed this for me, because we can get in here and we can talk about branding and marketing and why it's so important. Because it really is important. Everybody has their unique point of view, what they do. I've been photographing babies since I was nine years old. It is my gift. And it was kind of in that moment why I realized why it's my gift. Because I know that some people think the baby photography or family photography is not cool, and I just don't even care. I don't care. Because to that mom, it was everything, and it was so important to her, and it made me realize that really what I do is actually really, really, really important. And you know, what you do is really important too. So whatever it is that you do, it matters. I have a slide to prove it. (audience laughter) So go out and do it, okay. Like really, you owe it to yourself, you owe it to the world. Building a brand, you guys, is a creative endeavor. That's all it is. And you guys are all creators. You all have this in you. You can do this. So go make something amazing. Okay, and then tell me about it. Write me an email. That's what I got for you today. Now listen, if you wanna follow me and see my branding, and see how I put this all to work, you can follow me on Instagram @sandracoan. I answer questions. I talk to my people out there. I know, I'm sorry. I made myself cry, I made other people cry too. You can follow me there. I also teach a class with my friend, Alana Blair. We have a business class where we go into real detail about all of this. So we really walk you through these steps with a lot of exercises. We go into detail. We teach you how to blog. We teach you how to use social media. We teach you how to do newsletters. We teach all of this. You can find more information by going here. Also if you're in the class, we have a really fantastic bonus for you for that extended business and marketing workshop. Check it out, 'cause it's a good one. And we hope to see you there. We have a really active Facebook group. It's a good place, so.
Question from Bryson, would like to know, "Should you figure out your brand "before starting your business?"
I mean, yes, but I also feel like they go hand in hand. What I would ask him, I would say, "Okay, you're starting your business, well, "what are you starting? "Are you starting something "because you feel like you should do that, "and that's a way to make money, "or are you starting your business "because this is what I do, and this is what I'm drawn to, "and this is my voice, "and this is what I wanna share with the world?" That's where you start your business from, and then you build and fine tune from there.
And then Saud would like to know, how often should I renew my website and pricing, and like sort of kick up my brand as I grow?
As you grow?
Yeah. What's the best critical moment to do that?
Well, I think that you increase your pricing. There's this whole formula to pricing that I don't have time to get into, but we do walk through in the big course. It's kind of complicated as far as like how you figure that out, but what I tell people is it's time to up your pricing when you're having to turn clients away. If you're so busy, like I just can't this month, take another client, then it means you need to up your pricing.
My short question is.
You talk about knowing your people, and the people that you want to have.
But you know, I've been doing this for about six years, so I have people.
Who I love.
And I've watched their children grow up.
But they're not my people.
You know what I mean?
You feel me.
So I can't just be like.
Peace out, sorry.
Look dude, yeah, I'm not doing that anymore. So I guess I'm kind of trying to figure out how much to educate and then how much to just be like, "Hey, you know, you've been with me for so long, "let's just do this your way, but I won't post that stuff."
I think you, yeah, you start there.
Like I'm still gonna work with you, I love you. You've been a valued client to me. That's important, and you don't post it. And you eventually start to transition them.
So I have, for example, I have a family I've worked with for 16 years. So they've been through me with all the phases. All the phases of Sandra Coan Photography. But one thing that has been consistent over that time is they've always wanted to be outside, and I've been just studio for a long time now, but I still go outside for them, until just a couple of weeks ago, and I was like, "Hey friend, I think it's time. "I think it's time you come in the studio." And she was like, "I'm so nervous about the studio." So then you can start bringing those people in, you know, it's like a gradual transition, but I think it's important to respect those relationships, and then start building your other stuff. Start showing that. Start taking stuff off of your website that you don't wanna be shooting anymore. And just slowly start making that transition. It happens faster than you think, yeah.
This is from Kim, and I'm just gonna sort of paraphrase, 'cause I know we have other people that are sort of having the same issue, I know over the years here at Creative Live.
Can you talk to the people who have two separate websites, two different business cards, two different styles that they're trying to bring in money on.
You know, two different types of photography. Is it hurting to keep them separate? Should I bring them together, or should I just kind of divide and conquer?
I think it would just be dependent on what you're offering, right? Like I said, it's perfectly acceptable and okay to have multiple ideal clients, and different business models.
In the same thing, so what I mean by that. So I had a good friend who was a portrait photographer, so that's what she does, okay. Within that, she did family photography, and she did boudoir photography. Two really different. And most people don't wanna be like, on there looking at babies and then not babies.
Right. And so she did that. She had two separate websites, two separate brands, you know, and then built these brands separate, you know. But at the core of it, it was still portrait photography. Does that make sense?
So I think you can do that, and I've seen people do that really well. I always question people when they're doing multiple things, again, is are you doing those multiple things 'cause that's your voice and you really love it, or are you doing those things because you feel like you should to make money? And if the answer is ever, "I feel like I should to make money," then that needs to go.
Got it, cool.
Sandra, we're getting amazing comments from the internet.
From the folks watching. They all, in the beginning, they were all raising their hands.
Saying they were having issues. They raised them virtually on the internet.
So thank you so much. Final words of wisdom, a call to action for folks who really wanna get out there, and develop their and market their brand. Yeah, absolutely. I think what I can say to them, and what I can say to you is trust what you do. Like really do. You're called to it for a reason. Like, that is your gift. That is what you're supposed to be doing, so use it. Be smart about it, okay. That would be my call to action.
Marketing and so much more! Sandra is an exceptionally talented and inspirational photographer. She puts herself and her experience out there to truly help you understand the market and succeed. In 90 minutes, she took me on a journey. I had a few "aha" moments. Thank you!
a Creativelive Student
This is one of my favourite classes of PhotoWeek 2017 where Sandra gives the reason 'why' we should pursue our passion, photography in this case, but otherwise too, a well-presented, highly motivating class that would leave most wanting to go out and do it.